Bills report card through the first six games

BY THOMAS BAIA, SPORTS STAFFER.

The Buffalo Bills are 4-2 through their first six games. They were recently handed a heartbreaking loss to the Tennessee Titans. On a 4th and 1 with 22 seconds left Josh Allen could not come up with the first down on a quarterback sneak play. But they remain in first place in their division and have some very winnable games coming up. After playing the Dolphins at home on Halloween they travel to Jacksonville to take on the 1-5 Jaguars. Then to East Rutherford to face the 1-5 Jets. One of the things the Bills have proven is they can demolish bad teams. With 35-0, 43-21, and 40-0 victories over the Dolphins, Football Team, and Texans. 

Some position groups have been better than others. The Bills certainly have some position groups that need to perform better if they want to make it to the Super Bowl.

Josh Allen:  A

Josh Allen has been a top 10 quarterback this year. 5th in QBR and 9th in touchdown percentage. Last year he was a better player but it’s very hard to duplicate a season that he had in 2020. He has been everything you need this season. Completing passes, running, and being a great leader on offense. 

Devin Singletary/Zack Moss: C-

The running back tandem of Singletary and Moss has been okay this year. They rank 14th in the league averaging 4.4 yards per carry. But they do complement each other well. Since the Bills are very “Allen-centric” you don’t need a Titans running game. But you need something to keep the opposing defense honest. One thing they need to be better at is pass-catching. They are good pass blockers but need to be better at catching out of the backfield. 

Wide Receiver Group: B

Stefon Diggs has been very productive this year. But the gem this year has been Emmanuel Sanders. What a free agent grab he was. He has been great on deep routes. One of the things you need is more production out of Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley. They used Cole more in Tennessee but has still been quiet for most of the season. Also, the Bills need to use McKenzie more on jet sweeps and end-arounds.

Dawson Knox: A

What more can you say about Dawson Knox? He has been nothing short of brilliant this year. He was testing the patience of some Bills fans before this season. The Bills even checked in on Zach Ertz before he got dealt to the Cardinals. But this season he has five touchdowns and has been a very reliable target for Allen. The story during the offseason was Knox and Allen developed great chemistry during summer workouts. But there is no doubt. “Tight End University” has helped reveal a Dawson Knox that Bills fans have been waiting for. 

Offensive Line: B

According to Pro Football Focus, the Bills have the 14th best offensive line in football this year. They have been solid enough to protect Josh Allen. Allen has only been sacked eight times this year. To put that number into perspective Justin Fields has been sacked 22 times. Spencer Brown has done a fine job at right tackle and has looked like a good draft pick for the Buffalo Bills.

Defensive Line: B

As we know, the Bills have a great cycle of players they use on the defensive line. Brandon Beane and staff addressed the defensive line in the draft with Greg Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr. And it has paid off. They have 34 quarterback hurries this year. Only three teams have more.  They are tied for eighth in the league in sacks with 14. The defensive line is making Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier very happy.

Matt Milano/Tremaine Edmunds: B

This is one of the better linebacker duos in football. Matt Milano has been great in pass coverage which we are used to seeing. Edmunds has done a good job anchoring down the middle of that defense. They are good in the run game for the most part and just like the secondary, we are seeing the benefits of a group of players playing together for a long time. 

Secondary: A

The continuity of the Bills secondary is starting to show. The Bills are first in passing defense as they have only allowed 1,083 yards through the air. Tre’Davious White continues to be a top cornerback in the NFL. Taron Johnson is one of if not the best slot corners in the league. And there isn’t a better safety duo in the NFL than Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. The only thing where they could be better is the cornerback who plays opposite of White. For the past couple of seasons, it has been Levi Wallace. He’s a guy that other quarterbacks target a lot because of White and Johnson being on the field. But they all work very well together and have great chemistry that enables them to shut down opposing quarterbacks. 

Special Teams: A-

Tyler Bass by himself deserves an A+. His 63 points are tied for first in the league with Nick Folk and Matt Prater and they have played seven games to Bass’ six. Bass has yet to miss a PAT. He’s 14/15 on field goals and his only miss was over 50 yards. To put it simply, Tyler Bass has been the best kicker in the NFL this year. Matt Haack has been a little above average this season. One of the things the Bills loved about him is he can pin the ball inside the 20. He has only done that five times this year. To be fair, he has only punted sixteen times this year which is tied for fifth least in the league. Give the Bills offense credit for that.

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